Portal:Society
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Portal:Society

The Society Portal

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva

World Summit on the Information Society, Geneva


A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

Societies construct patterns of behavior by deeming certain actions or speech as acceptable or unacceptable. These patterns of behavior within a given society are known as societal norms. Societies, and their norms, undergo gradual and perpetual changes.

Insofar as it is collaborative, a society can enable its members to benefit in ways that would otherwise be difficult on an individual basis; both individual and social (common) benefits can thus be distinguished, or in many cases found to overlap. A society can also consist of like-minded people governed by their own norms and values within a dominant, larger society. This is sometimes referred to as a subculture, a term used extensively within criminology, and also applied to distinctive subsections of a larger society.

More broadly, and especially within structuralist thought, a society may be illustrated as an economic, social, industrial or cultural infrastructure, made up of, yet distinct from, a varied collection of individuals. In this regard society can mean the objective relationships people have with the material world and with other people, rather than "other people" beyond the individual and their familiar social environment. (Full article...)

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The Chaser pantomime horse stunt performed on 5 September 2007
The Chaser APEC pranks constituted a series of comic stunts that targeted the 2007 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Summit, which occurred from 2-9 September, in Sydney, Australia. They were coordinated and performed by the Australian satire group The Chaser for the television series The Chaser's War on Everything. The most prominent prank was the breach of an APEC restricted zone in the heart of Sydney's CBD on 6 September. Julian Morrow directed a fake Canadian motorcade, which was allowed through the restricted zone by police and not detected until Chas Licciardello alighted, dressed as Osama bin Laden. Although pranks that involved public locations, figures, and organisations were always a feature of the series, the APEC pranks yielded unprecedented local and international publicity, both positive and negative. Some team members faced charges for breaching the APEC zone, but these were dropped because police had allowed their entry in the restricted zone. Other less controversial and less publicised stunts were also shown on The Chaser's War on Everything, with ratings peaking at almost three million Australian viewers for the APEC wrap-up episode.

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Punch (magazine)Credit: Artist: John Tenniel; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

"Our New 'First Lord' at Sea", an 1877 editorial cartoon from Punch mocking the appointment of William Henry Smith (right) as First Lord of the Admiralty, the governor of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. Smith had been a household name thanks to the W H Smith chain of booksellers and newsagents, and he had been a Member of Parliament for the previous ten years, but he had no naval or even military experience whatsoever. The following year, Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore would satirise him on similar grounds, and he became known as "Pinafore Smith" throughout the course of his three years in the post.

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Robert Baden-Powell
Robert Baden-Powell
Robert Baden-Powell was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement. After having been educated at Charterhouse School, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the city in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. Based on those earlier books, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Pearson, for youth readership. During writing, he tested his ideas through a camping trip on Brownsea Island that began on August 1, 1907, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. After his marriage with Olave St Clair Soames, Baden-Powell, his sister Agnes Baden-Powell and notably his wife actively gave guidance to the Scouting Movement and the Girl Guides Movement. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died in 1941. (Full article...)

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This 1860 phonautogram by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville is the earliest known recording of the human voice, though it was never intended to be played back.

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